The Week

Leading article

Why is the mild West afraid to promote its democratic values?

An athlete seeking sanctuary in a foreign embassy after a state–sponsored attempt to spirit her home from the Olympics; a dissident found hanging from a tree in a foreign country that he’d been helping his compatriots escape to; a passenger jet diverted so one of its passengers could be arrested. The fate of critics of

Portrait of the week


Should Simone Biles listen to Novak Djokovic?

I’ve always been a Spectator reader, so I’m delighted to be writing a diary about the Olympics from Tokyo. My first experience of an Olympic Games was probably the most political of them all — Moscow 1980. I wasn’t sure that I would be competing until a few weeks before the opening ceremony. The build-up

Ancient and modern

Simone Biles, Plutarch and an Olympic trial

The outstanding gymnast Simone Biles has pulled out of several Olympic events, saying: ‘I just don’t trust myself as much any more.’ Many took the view that this was a fashionable ‘mental health’ issue. Ancient Greeks might have come up with a rather different analysis. Plutarch (c. ad 100) is said to have been the


Which industries have the most workers still furloughed?

Happy valet Police Scotland dropped what they said was a randomly generated codeword — ‘Bunter’ — for the security operation when Boris Johnson visited Scotland. While the name invited comparisons between the PM and Billy Bunter, the overweight public schoolboy in the Greyfriars stories, there is another Bunter in fiction. Mervyn Bunter was the immaculate


Letters: The problem with the ‘alpha migrants’

Here illegally Sir: Unfortunately, Charlotte Eagar misses the point (‘The alpha migrants’, 31 July). The Channel migrants may be ‘bright and brave’, and may repay what they gain from the benefit system. But they are here illegally, thus riding roughshod over the immigration system and those who are still waiting to have their asylum applications